WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The second-largest Kansas county has a couple of spelling errors on a ballot issue that is getting a lot of attention. The typos are in the Value Them Both abortion amendment on Sedgwick County Aug. 2 primary ballots, but election officials say it will not affect the outcome.
In the ballot’s amendment wording, “pregnancy” and “circumstances” are both misspelled. The paragraph also does not have punctuation at the end of it.
Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Angela Caudillo says the county has more than 1,000 separate ballot styles, and the information has to be manually entered.
“They cannot copy and paste because no other computer can interact with the election computer to prevent fraud,” Caudillo said. “The typos are simply human error and appear on Sedgwick County’s ballots, but not on other counties’ ballots.”
The errors were discovered after programming was finished, and ballots were printed, delivered and placed in envelopes.
“When we became aware of the errors, we considered all options to mitigate and correct the problem,” Caudillo said. “However, the process to fix the errors would have required that all ballots be reprinted and all equipment testing repeated. There was not sufficient time to do so and still send out ballots and begin early voting on time.”
She says the lack of punctuation on the question is from the Kansas Legislature. She said every Kansas county uses the language from the Kansas Legislature.
Caudillo said she knows a lot of people are concerned about the outcome of the amendment vote. Still, she said, under Kansas law, elections cannot be overturned based on administrative errors.
“This is a very important issue to many people, and we regret the typos,” she said. “However, we know that Kansans are fair and reasonable people and will understand that the missing letter in each of the two words does not change the meaning of the question.”
A spokesperson for the Kansas Secretary of State (SOS) agrees that the typos will not make any difference to the election result.
“Misspellings do not impact the validity of any ballot or vote. Voter intent governs,” Whitney Tempel, SOS director of communications, said.
She pointed to Kansas Statutes Annotated (KSA) 25-702.”
KSA 25-702 says, “… the real will of the people may not be defeated by any technical irregularity of any officer.”
KSA 25-716 says, “… the real will of the people may not be defeated by any technical irregularity of any officer,” whether the issue passes or fails.
Caudillo said there is one other typo on some Sedgwick County ballots. It is the name of a precinct committeeman candidate. The candidate is aware of the error. However, no other candidate is running for that office.